No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Best Animation Style Ever

Firefilm | 5 Mar 2012 16:00
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Last week Chris and Dan debated which was the best animation style and now they bring that debate to you in word form.

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Chris:East vs West. Anime vs Not-Anime. I was really surprised with this one, not only in the decision within the episode, but also with the livid reaction we stirred in fans. And I'm disappointed, so very much, that one of Dan's core arguments against anime, an argument he was kind enough to leave out of this debate because he wanted to stay above the belt, was proven all too well:

Anime fans, when pushed to their extreme, cancel out any good will the medium has whatsoever.

Yes, I'm outwardly stating there that if Dan had been ballsy enough to just say that because of the fans anime breeds it makes it vastly inferior to anything produced in the West next to perhaps Family Guy diehards, then I wouldn't have had any real ammo to fire back with. I'm not even being cruel here, just look at our comments and see how fans on my side of the debate (the one saying anime is valid) chastised me for not going far enough (and in true anime-fan style, I take one or two negative comments as a full-blown attack on my person because that's just the deal).

Elitism is not a term I like to pull out ever, and it's one that Dan again held back on, but that's what we can see in any forum relating to anime. And to explain this, think of the most popular animated pieces from both sides of this argument. On Dan's side you have everything by Disney, everything by Don Bluth, most of Nick's cartoons in the 90's, a handful of Cartoon Network's late 90's and early 2000's cartoons, The Simpsons and Futurama. On my side, the most popular, well-known examples are Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, One Piece, and thankfully Miyazaki's work. Whatever you may say, there's a lot less at fault with the popular choices in the western side than the popular choices on anime's side. My grandmother can tell me why Disney movies are amazing. She'll look at me like I'm possessed if I mention Dragon Ball. The elitism shows up with anime fans pull in obscure films as examples of the medium. False, anime is defined by the world as Toonami and Speed Racer. Get over that. I hate it, too.

Furthermore, Dan had the ultimate showstopper: Anime owes everything to Disney. Hackles raised, I know, but I took enough abuse last Thursday that I might as well endure some more. Any anime fan worth their salt can point to much of anime's big break at the hands of Astro Boy, an anime based on a manga that really, really loved Disney's work and style. Since then, anime characters consistently have large, expressive, western-style eyes and look, for lack of a better term, white. Goku may be a Saiyan, but come on, he's not a Japanese Saiyan. Respect where it's due, and anime has been emulating the Western (read: Disney) style of things since the early days.

Let me sympathize here, guys. I thought I had Dan with my argument that he just assumes that anime is perceived as "lesser" because the popular stuff in the US is not the best example of the medium, but it didn't sway Kyle as the judge or faze Dan as my opponent nearly as much. I thought I had a sure-fire winner with that, but for whatever reason it didn't land as hard as I assumed it would, and Kyle went the other way with the final decision. I didn't expect that and I instantly wished I'd had a chance to come back with more big points.

And the sad part is, if he had sided with me, I promise you that 90% of those angry comments would have said everything was right with the world. I blew this debate, plain and simple, because I thought I had Dan in the end. I didn't. The world kept on spinning anyway, and oddly enough, the sun still decided to rise in the East. Funny how that happened.

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Kyle:While I didn't assign the points this week, I did my duty as final judge and decided that Dan earned a win.

While this may be considered an unfair and outrageous decision to some, I find it justified because of the nature of the arguments at hand. Chris made valid arguments about Western animation's lack of originality and innovation, but this just shows that at it's worst Western animation is mundane and innocuous.

Dan, on the other hand, highlighted the number of weird, unnecessary, goofy and/or sickening aspects of Eastern animation. This does not say to me that all Eastern animation is weird or crappy. What it says is this: at it's worst, it is weird for the mere sake of being weird. And it alienates potential audiences needlessly. Don't try convincing me that there is an artistic point to the things Dan hated. There's a reason why there is a niche audience for it ... it's the type of entertainment that you are hooked on, or couldn't care less about. Frankly, I just don't get it. I'm the first to admit it.

I'm not saying I sided with Western animation because it holds my hand. I sided with it because it contributes more to animation at large, and because it doesn't insist on making me question it every five minutes.

And if there's one thing that helps me side with Western animation, it's that there is no pretentious bunch of whackjobs ready to cut my head off merely because I don't like it.

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